If a traveller was to head north from the Empire of Splendour, sailing around the eastern rim of the Inner Continent, past Mopendor, beyond the tip of Obrenaja following the archipeligo of volcanic islands that are part of Ssth-Gar territory, he or she would eventually arrive at a second great continent, on the far northern edge of the world. According to the laws of the universe as understood by Imperial philosophers, this should not exist; the force of Chaos should be too strong relative to Concordance for large land masses to exist, let alone ones inhabited by a large number of old and advanced civilisations. But it exists nonetheless.
This is the Outer Continent, long known to the Obrenaj, the Ptorac and the Moa-Ruaki but only recently discovered by the Merchants League. Only twenty years ago the first explorer from the League set foot on the Outer Continent and sparked a rush of interest.
The Outer Continent is a hot place, as might be expected from somewhere on the Chaotic margins of the world. The interior is a harsh desert, and the deepest part is a place of fire and ash where only supernatural creatures such as the terrible djinn live. The outer margins are inhabitable, populated by dark-skinned humans and a range of non-human creatures. Imperial philosophers have conjectured that the continent was formed from the body of the North Sun, slain by his brothers during the Time of Four Suns. The pale sun of the winter sky is his ghost, but his physical fires still burn in the interior of the Outer Continent, hence the name given to it by people from the Inner Continent: Fallen Sun.
Long ago, the humans of Fallen Sun were ruled by the mighty a'Keshamite Empire, uniting many different lands under the worship of one god, the All-Seeing One. The a'keshamite Empire collapsed centuries ago, its capital city Aku-Batambar swallowed up by the desert sands. Legends say that the fall was caused by the pride and greed of the priests of the All-Seeing One, and now all priests of that god are mendicant beggars, forbidden by custom from owning property lest they again fall into sin.
The many lands of the a'Keshamite Empire shrunk, grew, combined, fell apart. Many nations today on Fallen Sun claim descent from the Empire, known collectively as the neo-a'Keshamite Kingdoms. They are united by a common language and cultural traits, and by worship of the many faces of the All-Seeing One. The first landfall of the Merchants League explorers was in a place called Dar a'Droaz, a port city protected by a former pirate fortress. Nearby is the Kingdom of Geilem and its great trading city Ok-Tom-Bo, home to a peace-loving folk with the gift of magical song. Probably the largest cultural group after the neo-a'Keshamite Kingdoms are the Imbata people, who are mainly herders and nomads. They also worship the All-Seeing One, but claim a different descent from an array of tribal heroes. They are famous for their system of writing using knots, often woven by the women into story-weaves which can convey magical powers. The Tegwe-Imbata are one of the largest Imbata tribes in the Dar a'Droaz/Geilem area, and further along the coast are the Sindu-Imbata, a settled tribe who share a rift valley with the secretive winged malameks. On the island of Hish, beyond Dar a'Droaz, is the mysterious Sisterhood of Hurriat, a strange matriarchal society where the men and women lead very seperate lives.
The malameks are just one of many non-human races on Fallen Sun. They are small winged reptilians, similar to a pterasaur. The malameks of Sindu are great keepers and seekers of esoteric lore, but other malamek cultures exist wherever there are cliffs for them to soar from. The dromads are camel-centaurs who rove the inhabitable margins of the inner deserts, better able than humans to withstand the harsh rigours of the terrain. They live equally by raiding as by trading, and they enjoy hard drinking and violent sports, usually as practice for war, amongst themselves and against others. The ura are a tiny race, originally from desert-dwelling nocturnal clans but they are opportunistic and co-inhabit with other races whereever they can (although they avoid the dromads, who like to use them as target practice). Despite their small size, they have a culture honouring fierce warriors.
Other strange tales have reached the ears of League explorers, but as yet they have not ascertained the truth of them. The spiritualist Ja-Ecout, the warlike Ajamec, a cult who believes they will be reincarnated as trees, giant man-eating plants, living sandstorms and entire cities that appear and disappear like ghosts. These things and more await on the continent of Fallen Sun.
(c) 2010 The Creative Conclave.